Former Juventus sporting director Gianni Di Marzio revealed they missed signing Cristiano Ronaldo due to Marcelo Salas not moving to Portugal in exchange.
The current Real Madrid superstar burst into Sporting Lisbon’s first team in the 2002-03 campaign before eventually signing for Manchester United the following summer but Di Marzio – Juve’s sporting director between 2001 and 2006 – revealed he brought the Portuguese to Turin as a teenager, but Salas was unwilling to move to Lisbon.
"When I was working for Juventus, I called Turin and said he was going to be the best player in the world, obviously behind (Diego) Maradona," Di Marzio is quoted as saying by Marca.
"I negotiated a deal and brought Cristiano to Turin in 2002 to sign for Juventus.
“But Salas did not accept the swap deal. For a few million euros, Salas did not want to go and he later ended up at River Plate.
“That is how Juventus lost Cristiano Ronaldo. [Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes] knows this story very well."